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How to Avoid Using the F Word (Fatigue)

To what degree does fatigue affect you?  When you find "open space" in your schedule, do you have a hard time making the most of it?  Are you tired each day?

Relaxation is vital to the longevity of anyone who wants to make a difference.  Whether you are a leader, a stay at home mom or a missionary, it's important to relax.  Relaxing then helps you avoid fatigue which is deadly.

When we are fatigued, we make bad choices.  We give in to temptations.  We put ourselves first in a negative way.  We lean into depression.

Thankfully, fatigue is not inevitable.  It's an F Word that we can avoid.

Let's connect fatigue with its counterpart, relaxation.  From a Christian perspective, relaxing is not exactly at the top of most folks' list.  The Protestant ethic, as an example, puts a premium on hard work and long hours of labor.  Catholics aren't too far behind in appreciating the value of work.

This post is meant to challenge both of these persepectives.  

There are many wise people throughout history who have found a value to relaxation or in this context, sabbath rest.  Here are a few of my favorites:

 

  • Everywhere I have sought rest and found it not except sitting apart in a nook with a little book.  (Thomas a Kempis)
  • Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength... It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less. (Charles Spurgeon)
  • Walk very simply with the Cross of the Lord and be at peace with yourself. (St. Francis de Sales)

An appreciation for rest and relaxation is not limited to the world of Christianity.  Corporate America is also rediscovering the value of designing workspaces and work schedules that have periodic rest and downtime.

Tony Schwartz, author of Be Excellent at Anything wrote this quite recently, "Sustainable capacity — meaning sufficient fuel in the tank — is what makes it possible to bring one's skill and talent to life. Not even the most talented and motivated employees can run on empty." (original post: "Fatigue is Your Enemy")

So how do you avoid a pace that leads to fatigue?  Here are six suggestions:

 

  1. Drink a lot of water.  This implies drinking less of other things.  Keep the body lubricated via water.  
  2. Get good at sleeping.  Look at your sleep as nothing short of a contact sport- it needs to be practiced and perfected over time.
  3. Dump the guilt.  Stop beating yourself up if things aren't perfect.  Take it from me as a recovering perfectionist, only in Heaven are things perfect. Pick things up and begin again.
  4. Enjoy one or two hobbies.  This helps you to avoid being boring and will help to channel some creative juices that might otherwise be wasted.
  5. Move your body.  Walk, run, swim, whatever.  Just get moving several times per week.
  6. Put God on your schedule.  Nothing is better than a day that starts with some quiet time.  Scripture, prayer, honest conversation with God.  

Now let's go out there are fend off the F Word that is "fatigue".  Instead, let's build lifestyles that honor God, are enjoyable and include plenty of rest.  

Question: What are you doing regularly to avoid fatigue?

Photo courtesy of TS

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